Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Ceisteanna (252)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

252. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on reopening the early retirement scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4774/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Early Retirement Scheme was suspended in 2008. It was reopened briefly in September 2009, with limited additional funding, to accommodate farmers who had applications completed or close to completion at the time of suspension. I can confirm that as there is no funding available for a new Early Retirement Scheme at this time, I have no plans to re-open this scheme or introduce another similar scheme.

In recent years the priority of my Department has shifted to the encouragement of generational change for farmers. There are a number of supports specifically available for young farmers under my Department schemes in order to incentivise this generational renewal. For example, under the 2014 - 2020 Rural Development Programme there is for an enhanced capital investment scheme for young trained farmers.

This new Scheme provides grant aid at a rate of 60% of the cost of the investment, compared to the standard grant rate of 40%, and I believe it is an important support and encouragement to young farmers starting in agriculture for the first time.